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Does garlic influence rheologic properties and blood flow in progressive systemic sclerosis?

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:58pm

Article by Rapp A. and Colleague.

BACKGROUND: According to traditional European naturopathy garlic is an agent that increases perfusion. In studies with healthy subjects and in-vitro research garlic has shown influences on erythrocyte and thrombocyte aggregation as well as on vasoregulation. However, data on its effects in clinical populations are still lacking.

Garlic may be useful for systemic sclerosis which is characterised by impaired perfusion that often cannot sufficiently be influenced by standard treatment. We investigated if dried garlic powder can influence rheologic properties and vasomotor function in systemic sclerosis.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: During a randomised, double blind pilot study, 20 female inpatients with systemic sclerosis received a 7 day add-on therapy with either 900 mg dried garlic powder or placebo. Rheologic properties (erythrocyte aggregation, ADP-induced thromboycyte aggregation, plasma viscosity, fibrinogenous plasma level, blood sedimentation rate) were assessed initially as well as after 1 and 7 days of treatment. Vasomotor function was evaluated using near-infrared red photoplethysmography, a new diagnostic tool to assess microcirculation. Furthermore, acral skin temperature was measured.

RESULTS: After 7 days, only the verum treatment had induced a significant reduction of ADP-induced thrombocyte aggregation and a decrease in erythrocyte aggregation. Results showed no significant effects on vasomotor function, but an immediate effect of garlic on acral skin temperature.

DISCUSSION: According to the 'Qualitatenlehre' of traditional European naturopathy, garlic is classified as a 'heating agent'. Our results suggest that the improvement of rheologic properties could be a possible biological correlate for this. Although further research is required, we conclude garlic could be a rational add-on therapy in the 'Kaltekrankheit' ('cold disease') of systemic sclerosis.

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